Feb. 3, 2012
By Robin Thuringer
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois track and field team returned home to host eleven teams in the first day of the Saluki Invitational Friday at the SIU Recreational Center.
This is the first scored meet of the season for the Dawgs, and they burst out to a commanding lead after the first day. After six events, the women's team holds a 27.5-point margin over second place Southeast Missouri, while the men sit comfortably in first with a 59 point lead over Southern University.
"I am excited, it was a really great way to start the meet," said SIU head coach Connie Price-Smith. "Everyone came out ready to compete as a team and they really worked hard tonight."
Freshman Caselyn Harding opened the night competing in the women's pole vault. Harding cleared a height of 11-02.50 to now rank her second all-time in SIU history. The Avon, Ind. native finished in second place behind SEMO vaulter Jill Schnurbusch.
In the men's pole vault competition, Cody Doerflien took the title with a clearance of 16-01.75. Multi-event athlete Ryan Sidwell finished second behind Doerflein, recording a new personal-best of 15-07.75. Alex Lietz, John Baughman, and Dean Jordan also competed in the pole vault placing fourth, sixth, and seventh, respectively.
The Saluki jumpers had a successful night spurred by Doug Palacious recording a personal best, second place finish. The sophomore recorded a leap of 23-10.25. Maxim Bakana placed third with a mark of 23-09.50. For the women, Nina Okafor placed fourth among 18 competitors with a jump of 18-01.00.
The freshman throwers had a break out night. Sophia Lozano finished in third place recording a personal best throw of 61-07.75. DeAnna Price placed fourth posting a mark of 59-10.50. Amanda Hillard (52-02.75) and Ashley Gaston (50-02.50) each also recorded career best's, placing sixth and seventh.
J.C. Lambert wrapped up the night with a win in the men's weight throw. The senior took the top spot with a throw of 70-11.75. Freshman Bradley Sauer set a personal record to take second place. Sauer tossed a mark of 60-01.00. Collin Otto (59-11.25), Greg Semanisin (59-11.25), and Brian Cooper (55-03.50) finished out the top five. Cooper was the last of the Salukis to record a personal record.
"At this point in the season I am very happy with where we are at," Price-Smith said. "Seeing so many personal records recorded was great and I was proud of the success of the vaulters and jumpers."
The Saluki Invitational continues Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. with the last of the field events. All track events begin at 10:30 a.m.